I love to hear from blog readers...I mean people are actually reading this blog..all 25,400.......

Anyway, back to reality.... here's a few comments from readers;

Hi Joyce - I am just finishing The Burgess Boys - Elizabeth Strout. It is wonderful - I do not want it to end! It does not disappoint in any way, well written, beautifully developed characters and timely, thought provoking topic! Enjoy. Kathy

Have you read Where'd you Go, Bernadette? Clever and funny and light yet I wouldn't exactly call it a beach read. Quirky, well developed characters and a plot that, while seemingly absurd, comes together quite well in the end. Susan M.

I’m starting to skip through parts of the Philbrick book. It’s not that I don’t like it, but so far, it’s too much information (Yes, even too much historical information for ME!). Anyway, I love that it’s about Boston with all the references to the way life was back then. Based on my progress (skipping), I’ll be finished faster than I think. Full review to follow.  Gary S. reviews non-fiction and history on this blog.

Please leave a comment at the foot of this post or send me an email. I am eager to hear what you're reading, what your Book Group is reading and any recommendations you may have.

SOON IN JUNE (05/30/2013)


Are you wondering what books are coming out in June? Looking for some summer reads? published a list of soon to be released titles. These books can all be pre-ordered directly from this blog by clicking on the  Amazon Search Box in the Side bar. Check out Bookreporter's latest updates....


Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

The Carmichaels and the Grahams have gathered on Nantucket for a wedding. Plans are being made according to the wishes of the bride's late mother, who left behind The Notebook: specific instructions for every detail of her youngest daughter's future nuptials. Everything should be falling into place for the beautiful event --- but in reality, things are far from perfect.

On the Floor by Aifric Campbell

It has been 182 days of vodka and insomnia since Geri Molloy got dumped. But it is the autumn of 1991, and war in the Middle East is about to shake up the markets, and maybe also force Geri out of her malaise. Her firm’s biggest client, Felix Mann, an eccentric hedge fund manager in Hong Kong, will only talk to Geri. When she finds herself caught up in a high-stakes takeover, Felix is game for the power play, but his price tag is Geri’s future.

The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag

The ninth unidentified body to turn up in Minneapolis in 2012 is nicknamed Jane Doe 9. Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska take on the case and discover a shocking fact: This victim has been found without any identifiable characteristics, except for those that peg her as an adolescent girl. Before the investigation is through, the case will take the two detectives deep into the life and death of a teenage girl who wanted nothing more than to be “normal.”




Have you been waiting for a really good, sink your teeth into Historical read? Nathaniel Philbrick once again gives the history buff a throughly researched, driving narrative about the Battle of Boston titled Bunker Hill.

Here's what Jean-Paul Adriaansen on Goodreads said:

What a masterful account! Philbrick gives us a very detailed and honest account of what really happened before, during, and after the Battle of Bunker Hill.

He brings this story without the usual patriotic brouhaha but he shows all the participants as human beings, sometimes heroic and glorious, sometimes greedy and petty. Witness how some discontent evolves in a full revolution; witness how George Washington grew to be the General as we know him; witness the dilemma for rebels, loyalists, and British officers alike in those civil-war-like circumstances.
History at its best!


For More Information:

To Order:
Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar

IT'S FINALLY HERE! (05/22/2013)

It's been six years since the publication of Khaled Hosseini's bestselling second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns and I've been eagerly awaiting his latest novel, And The Mountains Echoed. 

Hosseini has said that his new book focuses more on the relationship between siblings rather than tales of fatherhood and motherhood. This is true but it also differs from his previous novels in other ways. (The Kiterunner)

This is an epic multi-generational family saga starting in the 1950s with a variety of settings - from Afghanistan to France, from Greece to the United States. Siblings Pari and Abdullah are devoted to each other but their paths take different directions early on in their lives.

Hosseini uses his skill as a captivating storyteller to weave a complicated pattern of family stories which take off quickly. The narrative is complex, flitting between eras, characters and locations but Hosseini is always firmly in control, pulling the strings and helping the reader move along.

Readers and critics have said it may not be as dynamic as his previous novels, but And the Mountains Echoed has been labeled a "master work by a master storyteller." (Sounds pretty dynamic...) 


Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar


Reading this book may be dangerous to your health!

Salt, Sugar, Fat written by New York Times investigative reporter, Michael Moss shows the serious downside to the convenience of ready-made processed food found in your local supermarket. And by the way, Moss is the guy who brought "pink slime" to the public conciousness. (Remember that controversial beef product?)

Gary S, reviews nonfiction on this blog. He's in great shape, exercises and is not a food junkie. So why did he read this book?
See his comments below....     

just started reading Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss. I think it’s on the New York Times best seller list. Since my spouse and I are trying to eat healthier—and cut out salty snacks and sugar, I thought it would be an interesting read—and it is.

In my opinion, the big food processing companies operate similarly to the tobacco companies, by doing extensive research to understand how to ‘hook’ the consumer to eat more of their products. Unfortunately these products are unhealthy and contribute to obesity.

Salt, Sugar, Fat is very detailed—and in my opinion, too detailed. I don’t think I can finish it. I'm pretty sure Frontline on PBS could cover all the major points in one or two episodes. Oh well....

Many readers were shocked that food corporations have cheated and duped consumers out of a healthier life for so many years. Yes, it's an extremely detailed tome, but for those searching for a healthier way of life, it's a rude awakening.(No guarantee it will make a difference though....)




Once again the West Hartford Book Group has read a controversial novel titled How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Moshin Hamid.

This is an unusual book that parodies business self-help books as it follows a young man in an unnamed Asian metropolis. Written in the second person, the book describes a rag to riches climb in business and social status. (And lots of other stuff along the way)

The reviews have been intriguing although some readers found the writing style "off-putting."  Below are comments from Janet, a member of the West Hartford Book Group.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Moshim Hamid

What can we say about an author who declares that he's writing a self-help book and then warns the reader to be wary of such books?

Or who, under the guise of instructing someone (the nameless "you") in the art of getting filthy rich, slyly and contemptuously reveals the endemic corruption, poverty and misery in the unnamed city that we're in? Or who ultimately and unexpectedly gets sentimental and provides a (sort of) happy ending?

Well, he's Moshin Hamid who beguiled us with "The Reluctant Fundamentalist". Here, he uses his prodigious talents to bring attention to the seismic changes transforming modern Asia while prodding us to think about the personal cost of getting filthy rich in such an environment.

Bev G., another member of the group didn't say if it was well received, but judging from the many reviews I've read, it sounds like a thought provoking romp in an original format. I've added it to my much too long To Be Read list.

                           FOR MORE INFORMATION:
To order directly, click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.

ONE TO WATCH (05/11/2013)

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttellin will be released on May 21st to resounding reviews.

From twenty five year old rising literary star Abigail Tarttelin comes a compelling novel about a boy, a secret, and the single traumatizing event that sends his seemingly wonderful life into a tailspin....

Goodreads wrote the following:

Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect friend. He’s even really nice to his little brother, Daniel, a decidedly imperfect ten-year-old.

Karen Walker is a beautiful, highly successful criminal lawyer, who works hard to maintain the facade of effortless excellence she has constructed over the years. Now that the boys are getting older, now that she won’t have as much control, she worries that the facade might soon begin to crumble.

Steve Walker is also a successful prosecutor, so much so that he is running for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.

But the Walkers have a secret. Max was born with forty-six XX chromosomes and forty-six XY chromosomes, which makes him intersex. He identifies as a boy and so has been raised lovingly that way.........until...


Reviewers have labeled Golden Boy a remarkable tale of a family in crisis, a gripping heartfelt portrait told with compassion and
understanding and a little joy added to the mix...Sounds like a winning combination..


Golden Boy can be pre-ordered from Amazon by using the Amazon Search Box on the Sidebar.


I've played tennis all my life and love the game. Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Bjorn Borg, are a few of the athletes I've seen play and admired their focus and skill.
Their private lives and how they functioned are another story...and now Jimmy Connors, the original "bad boy of tennis" has written a tell all memoir titled The Outsider. It's an extraordinary read...especially the mother references...Even if you're not into tennis, Connors is a personality worth reading about.


Here's a portion of a review by Neil Amdur of The New York Times...

...Jimmy Connors has finally decided to let the real world into the sanctuary he created on and off a tennis court. “The Outsider,” an autobiography to be published by HarperCollins on May 14, is an engrossing five-setter on clay, with intense exchanges and no tiebreakers.

....“The way I played tennis was very frequently selfish,” he writes
He also borrows liberally from his overly protective mother, Gloria Connors, and a loving grandmother, Brenda Thompson, whom he called Two-Mom and who repeatedly told him, “You can get away
with anything if you win." 

......Like the individualists Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Pete Rose and Chuck Berry, Connors was authentic. The book reflects that swagger, as do the lyrics to a classic Berry tune, “Johnny B. Goode.”



Did you know that Stephen King has a son who writes weird and spine-tingling suspense novels? 

I have to admit I had no idea that author Joe Hill was Stephen King's son...nor did I care. His books are reminiscent of his Dad and equally as terrifying. The new novel, described below will be a riviting read and without a doubt as sucessful as any Stephen King tome..I'm a sporadic Stephen King reader, but fans of this genre will be thrilled...literally. 


NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

"Charles Talent Manx likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing --- and terrifying --- playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.” Victoria McQueen, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up now and desperate to forget. But Manx is on the road again and has picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son."


NOS4A2 can be ordered directly from the Amazon Search Box on the Sidebar.

"Don't read before wil either disturb your sleep or you'll keep reading it all night..." (Joe Hartlaub)



I was first attracted to this novel because of the unique cover art..but you know the tired but often true saying.."You can't tell a book by its cover." I anticipated a story of "love, family and motherhood" that was sure to be either too painful, a tearjerker or just plain mush...but according to my college friend Nancy B. it's none of the aforementioned....quite the opposite.

Nancy B. wrote:

I'm loving Jennifer Gilmore's new novel, "The Mothers". Her third published work is about a young childless couple going through the painful and convoluted path of the open adoption process.

There is both poignancy and humor in this new novel which is very different from Gilmore's other two works of fiction, "Golden Country" and "Something Red" both of which were on the NY Times list of notable books...

Also you can catch an interesting conversation online between Jennifer Gilmore and Meg Wolitzer. Wolitzer's book, The Interestings is next on my list.


Conversation Between Meg Wolitzer and Jennifer Gilmore:

BOOK ALERT.............
In an earlier post I mentioned The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.  I am halfway through and finding it a totally absorbing read...great characters, ironic and witty banter and a detailed storyline..Can't wait to get back to it....

Scroll down to find the review or enter the title in the Search Box at the top of the blog.